The governing board and management of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has announced a new policy that would see the introduction of instant care for all subscribers aged 70 years and above across the country.
The new policy also eliminates the one-month waiting period for all subscribers under the category to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
By this, persons aged 70 years and above who enroll onto the scheme will have instant healthcare and shall access the full benefits package from NHIS accredited health service providers.
“From 6pm today, Monday, September 26, 2022, all the elderly, aged 70 years and above, who register on to the scheme can visit accredited NHIS hospitals and all their health needs will be taken care of,” a statement from the Authority said.
It indicated that the move was in line with the government’s objective to accelerate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and bridge the access inequity gap.
The statement said since the establishment of the NHIS in 2003 to promote access to equitable and quality healthcare for all residents (citizens and non-citizens), the government has made substantial progress toward its goal of UHC through innovations to expand the operations of the scheme while ensuring its financial sustainability.
By so doing, a mandatory one-month waiting period for all categories of members, except pregnant women and children under five years, who enrolled on to the scheme, was introduced.
This measure was to curb the abuse of the scheme by potential free-riders and it affected persons who are aged 70 years and above from accessing instant healthcare on enrolling onto the scheme.
“During the mandatory one month waiting period for these aged new enrollees [including Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pensioners], they are burdened with out-of-pocket payment in order to access healthcare until the 30 days waiting period is exhausted,” it added.
Nonetheless, due to the peculiar circumstances that elderly people find themselves, especially with issues relating to health, the Dr. Okoe Boye-led NHIA with inspiration from His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, through the honorable Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, with effect from Monday, has waived the waiting period for the aged.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri